Summary: Worn out - Weighted down - Wasting away. This describes many Christians today. But Nehemiah shows how to keep battling and building for the cause! Link included to formatted text, handout, and PowerPoint Template.
Dealing with Discouragement
Ill.—devil’s auction. He decided to sell all his tools. Lust had a high price on it, so did pride, arrogance, envy, bitterness. But one tool was off to the side and said ‘not for sale.’ It was the tool of discouragement!
As the people of God were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, the men of Judah became very discouraged.
“Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word…” You couldn’t sing that about them.
The curse of discouragement, the causes, and the cure.
1. The Curse of discouragement—it’s the devil’s #1 tool he uses to try to get you out of the game! Out of church / give up on life.
Satan tries to discourage people in their finances…even if you tithe! Or your children, even tho’ you bring them up in church. Or, thru problems in ministry at church. Or thru physical problems.
a. Discouragement doesn’t discriminate. Even the best Christians are under it’s power at times.
Ill.—C. H. Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, was given to depression and discouragement. He said, “I would not wish upon my worst enemy the depths of despair and discouragement I often feel for weeks or months at a time.”
John Wesley was also given to discouragement. He married poorly, the wrong woman. There were times she would drag him around the house by the hair! [that would only happen once at my house before I’d shave my head!]
v. 10 first 3 words…Judah was the chief tribe, the leaders among the nation, the cream of the crop! It was these that said, ‘we can’t do it, we can’t continue.’
You’re not a bad Christian because you get discouraged…only if you stay that way! If getting saved is the end of troubles then it’s the front end! But now God is on your side to help you up, and to stretch you and help you grow thru it all. Or, maybe you want it easy, and want heaven on earth. Jesus carried His cross, and you must carry yours…but how?
b. Discouragement is debilitating. It will stop you dead in your tracks. ‘Anyone can do more than a man who has lost heart!’
ill.—back in the days of horse-drawn wagons, a man was hauling logs. On a hill the horses couldn’t make it, and gave up. He unloaded half the wagon, but they still wouldn’t try…he emptied it completely, but still they had given up! They were utterly discouraged. They gave up and wouldn’t try!
Some do this w/ their marriage, children, their church!
But that’s not what God wants. He wants us to stay in the game, put our shoulder to the wheel, keep trying, and keep trusting!
2. The Causes of discouragement
a. Worn out
They had been working hard, but still things weren’t going anywhere. They had lost their zest for the work.
v. 6 It was halfway done. That’s where we often get discouraged, when we’re in the thick of it.
Ill.—the kids get excited to go on a hike or for a walk, but halfway around the block they’re tired! Guess what, it’s just as far to get back!!
When do you get tired of your car? When it’s about half paid for!
When does marriage get old? Halfway thru. Somewhere between ‘I do’ and ‘You’d better!’
When is school the most boring? Beginning after lunch!
What’s the most depressing part of winter? Half way thru!
Where are we at in this sermon? About halfway thru!
When’s the most discouraging time for men? Middle age…mid-life crisis!
A guy looks at his life and gets discouraged. His body / his job / his goals / his wife!
It’s time to buy the sports car, unbutton your shirt and tell the world you’ve still got it.
Ill.—guy told his wife when she turns 40 he will trade her in for 2 ‘20s’…she just laughed and said, ‘you aren’t wired for 220!’
Halfway thru is when we get worn out…like rowing a boat across a big lake…in the middle you are worn out, but you realize to turn back is fruitless. You are worn out and discouraged, and maybe the only thing that sounds good is sitting still!
The men of Judah are worn out physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It is wise to know your limits, and learn how to say know, for if you get worn out you can get discouraged, and then you’re no good to anybody, and will HAVE to say no to everybody!
b. Weighted down
v. 10 “much rubbish”
They were looking at the total job, instead of just their section. They had miles to go and had their eyes on the wrong focus. Rocks everywhere. They were trying to juggle too much…they let life just pile up on them.